Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Interview with Aquinas coach Darren Douglas about the Irish's defensive philosophy, rules and tactics

Aquinas "shrinks the floor" in win over GMC Saturday


#2 Aquinas (16-3, 13-0) has proven its defensive prowess against the state's best teams. The excellence also shows in the full season defensive statistics that coach Darren Douglas shared with me after the Irish's 69-33 victory over GMC Saturday:


  • 44 PPG
  • 29% shooting - 35% 2PT FG, 23% 3PT FG
  • 83% of our opponents shot attempts are contested


That last stat is not one you regularly will see recorded and tracked by a coaching staff. But as you can see in our interview below (Darren's words are indented), Aquinas's coaches approach the game, and their team's performance on defense, in innovative ways. So I asked him some questions to find out if we can all learn something.


Interview with Aquinas head coach Darren Douglas


Chad:
Whether playing zone or man, your defense makes very few mistakes and usually forces a contested three, usually off the bounce. Is that part of your strategy and philosophy? Coach (Wes) Wuchte talked to me about what you stress on defense and how you measure and chart it. Can you or he just go deep into how you guys do what you do because it works wonders and you can probably teach us something?

Darren:
Yeah, our defensive goal is to only give up a contested jumpshot. We try to make sure we have help defenders to “shrink the floor” on dribblers (close any gaps they have to the basket)

We watch film and hold everyone accountable for every detail that would go in a possession from defensive communication, on ball defense, help defense, boxing out and rebounding.

We clip up all of our “defensive fails” from games and we watch and talk it through so everyone is on the same page.

Last night (against GMC) would have graded an A+ for us.

We only missed 2 rotations all night.


Example:




Chad:
2 rotations all game. A+ indeed. A couple more questions.

It’s 11AM (Sunday) now. How much time have you already spent on last night’s tape?

Darren:
I’ve spent 2 and a half hrs on it. Gonna go back and grade shot selection tonight.

Chad:
Does this picture show your “shrinking the floor” point.

Aquinas packs the paint against GMC


5 guys, four 6’4” and above, are in the paint addressing 3 GMC guys and Tre Gomillion is about to “fly around” (Wes’s words) to the guy catching it on the perimeter.

Darren:
That’s exactly what it’s about. If we can do these things for 32 minutes, then we can control the game with our Defense:
1) Get Back on Defense and get set before the Offense arrives
2) Shrink the Court to Defend a smaller area

3) Closeout on the Catch with High Hands

4) All 5 Players Rebound.

Let’s be this type of team.

Chad:
The next question is whether what I’ve seen recently from Trent Bowdre lately (22 pts, 4 as Saturday) what you’ve always expected from him? And is it even different from what he’s given all season and I am just now catching on?

Darren:
I’ve always thought he could play at this level, but (before) he wasn’t mentally tough enough. He has completely changed his way of thinking and how he prepares for games (he watches film like a coach) and it shows in how he is playing.


Bowdre and Gomillion hook up for a Play of the Year candidate:


Frame-by-frame: Trent Bowdre throws a lob off the glass to Tre Gomillion, who slams it home.

Gomillion's 2 hand dunk off the alley oop pass from Trent Bowdre in Saturday's game was an instant "Play of the Year" candidate. I captured it imperfectly with the still shots above. But I was given this copy of the video footage of the play by someone in attendance:


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